Anti-what-now? We’ve talked before about size, color, sharpening and dithering for custom cross-stitch chart-design and also some of the “secrets” behind the chart-making process. Now we’re going to talk about another image processing-related feature that affects the quality of charts, something called “anti-aliasing”.
Most computers now have displays made up of individual pixels arranged in a grid to produce “raster images” - literally, a grid of dots. That wasn’t always the case though - if you’re old enough to remember the original Asteroids arcade game, that had a “vector image” display which could draw smooth lines in any direction, used to draw the rocks that glided across the screen and smashed your little spaceship to pieces so you had to put another 10p in the slot.
Nowadays, your computer will almost certainly have some form of LCD display and the only mention of vector images refers to the format of the image file - to display something on the screen it’s always converted to the grid of pixels.
If there was one single thing that probably has the biggest impact on the quality of your final completed piece, it has to be the chart that you work from. If you’re buying a pre-made pattern then you should expect it to meet a certain level of quality. But what if you want a unique personal piece? You’re never going to find a ready-made pattern for your own parent, child, grandchild or loved family pet.
This is where custom-chart making comes in and we’re proud to announce our new online cross-stitch chart maker that will help you create great looking custom made cross-stitch patterns quickly and easily.
Ok, the headline maybe a little overhyped - I’ll tell you right now that there’s no alien technology involved (sorry). I know this article might even be a little controversial* but we’ve seen a lot of misleading comments about the process of designing cross-stitch charts and at the same time, there also seems to be a lot of curiosity about the process but not a whole lot of information available to explain it.
At one time, we were a little “in awe” of the charts that people produced and figured there must be some amazing secret process to it all but after working on a cross-stitch pattern making tool which required learning a lot more detail about the process, I feel like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz … finally seeing the Wizard behind the curtain who’s busy trying to pretend there is more to it all.
So, I’m going to explain some truths about the process to creating great cross-stitch charts and why we need to begin with a clear definition of what “great” really means.
Completing a rich, beautiful cross-stitch piece can take a long period of time and considerable effort as well as the cost of materials involved. If you’re going to work on even a moderate sized piece, you want to be sure it’s going to look good before you start. It all begins with the patten design to create the best chart possible..
But there’s always a balance to find. Of course making the pattern incredibly detailed and using every color in the DMC palette will look absolutely fantastic - but it will also add to the time, effort and cost to complete. Often you can reduce the size or reduce the number of colors without any noticeable impact on the finished design. In fact, using the right options can make it look even better while also making it easier and less expensive to produce.